Friday, July 30, 2010

Chocolate with Francois - Chocolate Beignets without Creme Anglaise

Here we are with another installment of the monthly group Chocolate with Francois. This month we are are making Chocolate Beignets with Creme Anglaise. That is the recipe that Julia of Always...leave Room for Dessert picked for July.  Be sure to stop by her beautiful blog. Its filled with gorgeous photos and fabulous recipes.

Francois says in his book..."This is my version of the American doughnut: a ball of ganache that is dipped in a great beer-based yeasty batter, then fried and served with a creme anglaise dipping sauce instead of icing..."

I read the recipe and seeing that it served 8,  I decided to scale it back. I was also making Chewy, Chunky Blondies that day and knew we didn't need full recipes of two different desserts. And, since the Beignets should be served immediately I decided to just make a few so we could try them, and not spoil our dinner. :)

There are four parts to making these...the batter, the ganache, frying, and the dipping sauce. I decided to skip the creme anglaise. I have made it in the past and while it was delicious, I didn't feel like going to the trouble of making it just to dip a couple of beignets.

I am pretty sure I did my math right with quartering the recipe, but I started having trouble when I added the flour into the beer and yeasty water. Instead of having batter, I had dough. :( I added some more beer until the dough thinned out some and became more batter like.

Then I did the ganache. That turned out fine. I put the little balls in the freezer to firm up before the next step.

I mixed up an egg in a small bowl and put some panko (Japanese bread crumbs) in a another bowl. I added some fresh oil to my fryer and pulled the ganache balls from the freezer. My beer batter had been sitting on the counter and it had bubbled up as described in the recipe.

It seemed weird to dip the luscious ganache balls into egg and then into bread crumbs. After all, that is something that I would usually do with chicken. I tried to then be sure to completely cover the balls with the batter. As I pulled each ball from the batter, I dropped them into the hot oil. Fried them for 2 or 3 minutes, then scooped them out and placed them on paper towels to drain.

I dusted mine with a little powdered sugar. Once I was sure they were cool enough, the hubby and I tried them.

Yummy! The frozen ball of ganache in the center becomes soft and melted. The batter surrounding the ganache is crispy/chewy. The beignets aren't really sweet. But they are delicious! Don't let them cool off and then try to eat them...once cold they become rubbery. They are definitely best served warm from the fryer.

I would like to try these again...perhaps for breakfast some lazy Sunday. And maybe I will make the Creme Anglaise and try them dipped instead of dusted. :) Be sure to stop by CWF to see what the other bakers thought of this pick. Thank you Julia! I really enjoyed these.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Chewy, Chunky Blondies

I'm baaaaaack! Skipped last week due to the bananas in the recipe and because the hubby and I, with two of our friends, went on a motorcycle trip to NC. We went to Grandfather's Mountain, Linville Falls, and Mount Mitchell. We had a really great time and were gone from Thursday afternoon until late Sunday afternoon. I spent last Monday recuperating from the trip and 827 miles on the back of a motorcycle. Oh, but the sights we saw and the memories we made...well worth the callouses on my butt! :)

This week Nicole of Cookies on Friday picked our recipe, and she picked a winner. I knew when I read this recipe that I wanted to make it. While I am a die hard chocolate fan, every once in a while there is something very comforting about a Blondie. Chewy. Brown sugary. Rich and satisfying. But, I seldom think to make them. It always seems to be brownies.

I was off Monday (as I usually am) and decided to bake for two of my groups...TWD and Chocolate with Francois (which I will post later). (I also made "Chicken" and Dumplings and Baked Carrot Fries and will post about that later too). But, right now, it's all about these Blondies.

I made these just as called for using chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts and coconut. I had them whipped up and in the oven in no time. I baked mine for 45 minutes, which was when the knife inserted in the center came out clean. About an inch all the way around the border of the pan the blondies were tall. But, the middle or rest of the blondies didn't rise as much. I flipped them out of the pan and then flipped them back over and allowed them to cool.

When I was pretty sure they were cool enough I cut them into small bars. I anticipated them being rich so I cut the bars smaller than I would cut brownies.

Man, are these ever good. Someone in the comments said something about "crack blondies". So true!! These are addicting. They are chewy with a thin crust on top that starts out crispy then disolves into buttery, sugary goodness. Though not usually a big butterscotch chips fan (still don't know why I had a bag of them in my cupboard!) the chips added a warm, caramel-like undertone to the blondie. The walnuts added great texture and the chocolate chips just the right amount of richness. Soooo good!! I'll be right back...

Sorry, I had to go grab another one of these. That last paragraph got my mouth watering. :D

So, thank you Nicole! I loved these and so did the hubby. If you would like to see what the rest of the gang thought of this week's pick, click here. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Brrrr-ownies!

Karen of Welcome to our Crazy Blessed Life picked this weeks TWD choice. She picked Brrrr-ownies. I was excited to see brownies as the choice, until I read the recipe. When I saw that Peppermint Patties were to be used I started having my doubts.

I am not a big peppermint person. I used to like peppermint. But that was before a Christmas party at which I got a little over intoxicated on Rumplemintz, a very potent peppermint schnapps, and finished my night praying to the porcelain god. :}For some reason, ever since that night, long, long ago, I am not too crazy about peppermint. Go figure.

However, the hubby loves peppermint. Peppermint patties, peppermint gum. Peppermint ice cream.  I love him in spite of that. And, because I love him in spite of his love of peppermint, I decided to bite the bullet and make these brownies for him.

These were so simple to put together. Melt some chocolate and butter. Mix in some sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Fold in some chopped up peppermint patties. I have to admit, it seemed a terrible shame to me to "ruin" a perfectly delicious tasting brownie batter by adding the patties, but I went ahead and added them. Poured the whole bowl of batter into a buttered foil lined pan and baked away.

I peeked at the brownies after about 28 minutes, to see how they looked and was horrified to see white bubbles of peppermint patties oozing up out of the crust. (At this point I had not read the P&Q). I figured it was too late to do anything about it, and left the pan in the oven for another  few minutes till they were done.

I followed Dorie's directions for peeling off the foil, but had several spots of brownie/melted patty that stuck to the foil. I forged ahead, grabbed a knife and cut the batch into 16 small bars. Took some pictures and set the brownies aside.

Later, when the hubby tried them, and sang his praises about how delicious and chocolate-y and moist and chewy they were, I decided to try a little bite to see what all the fuss was about.

Wow! These things are soooo good. Dangerously good. Moist. Chewy. Rich. Full of dark chocolate-y flavor. Surprisingly not overly peppermint-y. There is a cooling sensation in your mouth as you eat them, but I really didn't feel like I was eating peppermint patty laced brownies. I loved them!

These I will make again and I am thinking all kinds of candy bar additions...Milky Ways, Snickers, peanut butter cups...the list goes on and on. If  you would like to see what the other bakers thought, head over to TWD and find out. Me? I think I might go eat me a brownie. :)

On a different note...I had a busy week (busy compared to how it's been anyway) in my baking business. Thought I would leave you with a few pictures of the cakes and cupcakes I made this week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Tarte Noire

I recently posted a picture of this tart on Tumblr and as of now, only 8 hours later, it has been re-blogged over 100 times. So, I thought I would re-post the original post, with the recipe, for anyone who might have missed it the first time. This is a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, from her book "Baking, from my home to yours". If you could only have one baking cookbook, this is the one to have.
Hello again! I hope that this finds everyone well and rested after a big holiday weekend. Did you have a cookout? Did you watch a fireworks show? Did you spend time with friends and family? I did all of that and also played in the pool, slept late, and, made one of the best desserts I have made in a long time. What dessert would that be you ask? It was this weeks TWD choice, Tarte Noire, that Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life picked.  If she lived closer I would visit her so I could kiss her for choosing such a fabulous recipe. Well, I probably wouldn't kiss her, but I would definitely hug her or shake her hand or something. This may be my favorite recipe so far. I kid you not. Please drop by Dharmagirl's blog and get the recipe. You won't be sorry.

We had my hubby's best friend come and stay with us for the weekend. He arrived on Saturday and settled in for the festivities. We cooked steaks on the grill...nice juicy rib-eyes. Some corn and some baked fries rounded out the meal. We went out in the field after dinner and had our own little fireworks show. My hubby set off the fireworks while I snapped photos and the hubby's best friend shot video.

The guys hopped in the pool after the fireworks show and floated around for a while. I was a bit too cool for me to get in the water. Then, before bed, I served the two of them a slice of the Tarte Noire. They loved it! They both scarfed it down in what seemed like seconds, and all but licked the plates clean. I like it when something I make brings such a satisfied expression to my hubby's face, not to mention his friend's face(who, after all these years, is also my friend).

I put this recipe together in no time early Saturday morning. I decided to make the chocolate shortbread crust and it came together quickly and perfectly in my food processor. I baked it after letting it sit in the freezer for 30 minutes. When I pulled it from the oven, to cool before adding the ganache, I got the brilliant idea to cover the bottom of the crust with a thin layer of caramel! I thought about nuts, but decided to just go with the caramel.

The ganache came together as easily as the crust, becoming this dark, shiny, smooth bowl of deliciousness. :) I used a combination of bitter-sweet and semi-sweet chocolate and poured it over the caramel in the crust. Put the tarte in the fridge for 30 minutes to set up and then sliced a piece for myself  a picture. Yeah, that's it. For a picture. :)

I also tasted it, just to see if it was okay before serving it to the guys later that night. Couldn't serve them something I hadn't checked was edible, right? The ganache was silky smooth and  so creamy. Not too sweet. Rich and delicious! The caramel underneath was a perfect touch, adding just a little sweetness and texture to the chocolate. And, the crust? Crunchy, tender, buttery, chocolate-y, and perfect against the creamy chocolate and chewy caramel. With as easy as this was to put together, I can see making it again and again. I wonder if you could do a white chocolate version. Almonds would be wonderful in this too. Maybe in the crust. Of course, it was fabulous just as I did it, and I would certainly make it the same again.

So, a really big, BIG thanks to Dharmagirl for this weeks pick. Just awesome! And, check out what the others thought of it by clicking here. :)